Cover photo for Michaelle Robinson's Obituary
1942 Michaelle 2014

Michaelle Robinson

December 23, 1942 — July 31, 2014

After a long, brave and dignified battle with Alzheimer's Disease, Michaelle Ann Robinson passed away on July 31. Family and friends were with her during the last days. She was born to Paul and Marjory MacCaskill in Chicago, IL on December 23, 1942. The following year the family moved to Beaverton, OR, where her brothers Paul and Scott were born. Michaelle Ann graduated from Beaverton High School in 1960. She entered Oregon State University and graduated in 1962 with a Pre-nursing degree. She then attended the University of Oregon and graduated in 1965 with a BS in Nursing. In 1964 she married Chris Robinson and later divorced.

Wanting to continue her education, she moved to Salt Lake City and entered the University of Utah. She graduated in 1969 with an MS degree in Mental Health Nursing. She was then hired as an Assistant Professor in the U of U College of Nursing. She taught at the U of U until 1972. During summers in Utah, she volunteered at a summer camp for children with diabetes. She moved back to Oregon when she was offered a position at the Oregon Health Sciences University as an Assistant Professor in the College of Nursing. In 1980 she was promoted to Associate Professor (with Tenure) and continued as a faculty member until 1985. In 1983 she was granted a sabbatical leave to begin working on a Doctoral degree at the University of Oregon.

During her study at the U of O, she met Ron Thorkildsen. Ron was also working on a doctoral degree and was on Sabbatical Leave from Utah State University. They began dating, which continued after Ron returned to Utah. In June Michaelle Ann and Ron were married. She was readily accepted into Ron's family, which became as much her's as Ron's. Ron had four children--Step-son Kurt Bingham, and John, Jane and Elizabeth (Lyza) Thorkildsen. At that time they all lived close by in Utah. Now John (Stacy) and Lyza (Reggie) live in Jackson WY. Kurt (Audri) and Jane (Lyle) live in Cache Valley. John and Stacy have three children--Megan, Lindsay and Michael. Jane and Lyle have three children--Morgan (Sadi), Madison (Andy) and John. Morgan and Sadie have two children--Henry and Kate. Madison and Andy have one child--Eleanor. All total they have six grand children and three great grand children. Michaelle Ann cherished being a Mother, Grand Mother and Great Grand Mother. It was the highlight of her life.

In the Fall of 1983 Michaelle Ann went to work at USU. She taught classes in the Departments of Family and Human Development and Special Education. She also developed interdisciplinary training materials for the Center for Persons with Disabilities. During this first year, she co-wrote a federal grant. The grant was funded, resulting in the Community-Family Partnership project. Michaelle Ann was hired as Co-Director. The project involved working with low-income parents and their children, and was funded for ten years. During this time, she also helped found the free clinic in Logan and was President of the Board. It was all a perfect fit for her training and experience. She loved it. Michaelle Ann and Ron both retired from USU in 2000.

In addition to Michaelle Ann's many care giving activities, she loved staying at their cabin in Teton Valley Idaho; skiing at Beaver and Grand Targhee; backpacking in the Wind River Range and southern Utah; hiking anywhere; sailing at Bear Lake, Jackson Lake and the Pacific Northwest; and beading. Beading was extra special. After being invited to join a local beading group, she learned a great deal, made beautiful jewelery and sold many items at bead shows and galleries. But, the most important part of belonging to the beading group was making life-long, cherished friends, who were very caring and loyal during her struggle with Alzheimer Disease.

Both Michaelle Ann and Ron loved to travel and they both loved Oregon. They did dozens of trips to Oregon to visit family, friends and the coast. They spent as much time as possible with her mother, brother Scot, sister-in-law Karen, and their daughters Ally, Dani and Katie. Her three nieces were very close to both Ron and Michaelle Ann. Their desire to travel took them abroad, first to Europe, then two trips to South Africa to visit friends living in Lesotho. From South Africa they visited Zimbabwe and Botswana and marveled at the wildlife parks. Soon after they traveled to Tanzania and Kenya for more wildlife and birds. Ron was eligible for sabbatical leave, which he took to finish a book. They moved to an Andean city in Peru and lived there for six months. They loved the mountain country, made many friends, and returned there four more times.

In 2003 they joined, as paying guests, 650 undergraduate students and 80+ faculty and staff members on a voyage around the World as part of the Semester at Sea Program. Students, faculty and staff were from both the US and international countries. The students attended classes and received transferable, semester credits. The voyage lasted 3 months and 10 ports were visited. Each port stay was for 3 to 5 days, which allowed for extensive trips beyond the ports. Guests were able to take classes and socialize with students, faculty and other staff.

Michaelle Ann's family thanks the superb CNAs who cared for her at Caring Hearts Assisted Living Home; her loyal friends who spent hundreds of hours visiting her through the course of the Disease and her out of town relatives and friends who visited or called often. Ron particularly thanks their daughter Jane, her husband and children who visited her constantly and gave her comforting blessings.

Michaelle Ann is survived by her brothers Paul (Laurie), Aspen; Scott(Karen), Portland; nieces Ally, Boston; Danny and Katie, Portland; and many cousins.

A celebration of Michaelle Ann's life will be held in Logan in the near future. Time and place of the celebration will be announced in the HJ, and family and friends will be notified way ahead of time.
To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Michaelle Robinson, please visit our flower store.


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